BC FIPA and the BCCLA have sent their comments on proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). In line with BC FIPA’s commitment with transparency, these comments were submitted in lieu of confidential participation in the consultation process. The Ministry of Labour, Citizens’ Services, and Open Government is proposing multiple amendments to FIPPA in preparation for their plan to build a centralized system for storing and collecting information from various departments and ministries involved in the provision of services to citizens.
FIPA and BCCLA are fundamentally in disagreement with most of the amendments included in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2011, pursuant to which the amendments to the regulation are being considered.
The bulk of these amendments were passed in order to provide enabling legislation for programs that will collect, use and disclose British Columbians’ personal information on a vast and unprecedented scale in the name of providing “citizen-centered services”. In our view, the program as currently envisioned trades citizens’essential privacy rights for administrative efficiency and will move the province closer than any other in Canada to being the “surveillance state” that privacy commissioners across Canada and around the world have warned about.